People have gotten so used to getting wifi for their phone/tablet/laptop that when it not being available has become the exception, instead of the norm these days. There are some places where you don’t expect it, but more and more, places like restaurants, bars, laundromats, supermarkets and theaters are adding wifi to the menu of items. One place it is definitely expected these days is a hotel. Recently, I stayed in a hotel without wifi available in the room. I don’t mean that they didn’t have FREE wifi, I mean they didn’t have wifi. They had free wifi in the lobby, but this hotel was a resort, where our room was across the compound from the lobby and it was very inconvenient to go there for the wifi.
I understand that people go to resorts to relax and to unwind, but that doesn’t mean that there needn’t be wifi in the rooms. Apparently, they were upgrading their wifi, and not all the rooms had been upgraded yet, so, of course, I was in a room that hadn’t been upgraded yet. According to the desk clerk I should “try to log in to one of the rooms around” my room. I did manage to pick up a signal with 1 bar of service from the room above mine, but it was spotty and only lasted for a few minutes at a time.
In this day and age, when we are linked up with the rest of the world so regularly and without any break, it is unthinkable to not offer wifi to guests at a hotel. In the evenings, after going to my room for the night, I was forced to watch Malaysian television or whatever crappy underachieving movie HBO was showing. I read the Lonely Planet guide several times, and even identified some places I would like to go on subsequent trips.
I realize some places, like cafes and bars, are actually anti-wifi, and don’t offer it as a manner of protesting the lack or personal communication people are having lately. I can’t say I don’t agree with them, and a few disconnected hours will do some people good. They might connect up with a friend, or actually have a face-to-face conversation for the first time in ages. It’s a nice concept, and I think it should catch on more often. Very often I ask my students to do the “5 hour challenge.” I challenge them to turn off their computers, phones, tablets and ipods, and just live life for 5 hours. I tell them to talk to their families, do something active, even watch television, but no internet or messaging allowed. Very few of them attempt it, let alone actually get through 5 hours. We are living in the “information age,” and people are addicted to the Internet.
People, however, need to be connected at home. E-mails, messages, social networks and important websites have become part of our every-day lives now. The 5 hour challenge aside, people need to be connected these days. For a hotel (which acts a person’s home away from home) to sever that connection is preposterous. Hotels need to offer their guests “all the comforts of home,” does that not include wifi?!?